News National MP attacked for comments
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MP attacked for comments

AAP
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Federal Labor MP Kate Ellis has accused a government backbencher of an “appalling attack” on a Sydney woman over her weight.

Queensland MP Andrew Laming has come under fire for his online comment about a News Corp photo of vet nurse Melanie Ward, 35, in her gym gear: “So it is ok to be overweight, if it is now average!”

Ms Ward is described in the photo, which was taken last year, as being the average Australian woman, at 163cm tall and weighing about 70kg.

Ms Ellis called Dr Laming’s comment an “appalling attack on an individual Australian”.

“We don’t need this government critiquing women’s bodies, we’ve got health experts and many others who will do that, and women themselves,” she told Network Ten on Sunday.

Speaking to reporters in Brisbane, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said he was “not familiar” with the issue.

“I obviously want to promote good health, but you’ve got to do it in ways which bring people with you,” he said.